Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018) Review

Grace West and Stephanie Antonio

We’ve all been watching the infamous fuzzy, green, and un-dislikable anti-hero on our TV screens every Christmas. It’s a classic Christmas tradition many families do to bring them together. However, with the new animated Grinch released, major controversy whether to stay true to the original 1966 film and the 2000 cult classic we have all come to adore or to trade in this Christmas tale for a sleeker and revamped version has arose.


Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch was made by Illumination studios, who are mainly known for their 2010 smash hit, Despicable Me. This will be the second Illumination retelling of a classic Dr. Seuss book, the first being The Lorax which was released in 2012 and gave Seuss fans and casual moviegoers alike less than disappointing results. With the severely overaged cast and a message some struggled to take anything from, The Lorax was quickly forgotten but did manage to make quite a bit of money from the box office. So of course, this meant that Illumination wouldn’t give up on their dreams of raking in the dough while Dr. Seuss rolls in his grave.


But surprisingly, The Grinch offers more than meets the eye.


When the movie was first announced back in February, no one was exactly thrilled at the time. Everyone was against this movie at first is because no one wanted it to overshadow Jim Carrey’s performance in How the Grinch Stole Christmas from 2000. Even though the movie is sub-par, many people have deep-rooted nostalgia with the flick.


One of the best things that the new film has to offer is its animation. The bright colors and clean style is something that Illumination has always had on their side, and The Grinch is no exception. It’s a great contrast compared to the 2000 version, where the town looks blurry and downright nauseating due to the constant 45° angle.


Another great thing was how the town of Whoville treats the Grinch. In the original 1957 book and the 1966 animated special, they never go into the backstory of why the Grinch hates Christmas, the only justification is how his heart is two sizes too small. In the Jim Carrey version, the children bully him, and later the adults treat him like a monster. But in The Grinch (2018), everyone around him is very nice, but he acts as if he is almost scared of Christmas. There is a flashback scene that shows how he never had Christmas in the orphanage that he grew up in, and when he was older, he turned bitter as a result of having no one to celebrate the holiday with.


But not everything about the flick was great compared to the previous versions. For one, there were a lot of added scenes that were only meant to lengthen the run time instead of furthering the plot. There were unusual scenes where absolutely nothing would happen that were painfully obvious filler.


Additionally, many of the classic musical details that we all associate with the Grinch, like Cindy Lou’s “Where Are You Christmas” and its original rendition of “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” are missing. Of course, the new animated version revamps parts of their movie to give it a unique twist of their own, like Tyler the Creators’ contributions to the soundtrack. But that shouldn’t involve adding in unnecessary, pointless, and even strange elements that have no real relevance to the storyline at the expense of the most classic parts of the Grinch we have all come to love.


Another negative aspect of the animated version was the lack of profoundness put into the friendship between Cindy Lou and the Grinch, arguably the most important part of the storyline. The entire storyline of the original story revolves around the friendship between Cindy Lou and the Grinch, and without it, the movie wouldn’t exist. Such an impactful connection should not be neglected and disregarded so easily. The encounters between Cindy Lou and the Grinch had much more sincerity and meaning in the 2000’s version. Their friendship revolves around more than just a chance encounter; it focuses on a young girl who made it her personal mission to share the happiness of Christmas with everyone. Though every single person she knows, even the Grinch himself are resistant, she does not back down because she believes everyone deserves happiness no matter what. The 2018 animated version takes a less serious route by belittling this friendship, Cindy Lou and the Grinch get perhaps 15 minutes of screen time together, causing their friendship to feel rushed and shallow.


Between the scary images and the extremely hateful attitude, the 2000 version of the Grinch tiptoed the line of whether or not it should be shown to young children. In the new animated version, we see a milder version of the Grinch that’s better suited for children, unlike his hateful Jim Carrey counterpart. Whether that’s good or bad depends on personal preference. However, it is clear that the animated Grinch managed to garner more sympathy from the audience because unlike the 2000 version, the Grinch wasn’t some angry anti-hero with a thirst for revenge; he was just sad, depressed and extremely lonely- something everyone can relate to.


Overall, the live action version included more adult content but had a stronger impact on the audience overall. But the newest rendition offers a less terrifying representation of the character but is obviously catered to a much younger audience.


Nonetheless, we must not forget what all of The Grinch movies have in common and the one thing everyone will agree on: we are all happier when we are together.